Net earnings for the third quarter ended November 2, 2013 were $171.6 million, up from $159.5 million for the third quarter ended October 27, 2012. Fiscal 2013 third quarter sales increased 6% to $2.398 billion, with comparable store sales up 2% on top of a 6% gain in the prior year.
For the nine months ended November 2, 2013, earnings per share were $2.86, up from $2.46 for the nine months ended October 27, 2012. These results represent 16% growth versus 22% for the first nine months of 2012.
Net earnings for the 2013 year-to-date period grew to $619.4 million, up from $550.2 million in the prior year. Sales for the first nine months of 2013 increased 8% to $7.489 billion, with comparable store sales up 3% on top of a 7% gain for the first nine months of 2012.
Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Third quarter sales were in line with our guidance, while earnings were better-than-expected mainly due to above-plan merchandise gross margin. Operating margin of 11.3% was relatively flat to last year. As a percent of sales, an improvement in cost of goods sold was offset by an increase in selling, general and administrative expenses."
Mr. Balmuth also noted, "We continued to enhance stockholder returns through our share repurchase and dividend programs in the third quarter. During the first nine months of fiscal 2013, we repurchased 6.4 million shares of common stock for an aggregate price of
$421 million. We expect to buy an additional $129 million during the fourth quarter, which puts us on track to complete about $550 million of the two-year $1.1 billion stock repurchase authorization announced at the beginning of this year."
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